Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SUMMER MINUTIAE!!...THE MIGHTY MUSKEGON'S FINEST DRY FLY FISHING

( gorgeous MO brown on a size #24 August WMD midge)
I know...I know!!!!...Michigan IS the dynasty for big mayflies!...Hex/Lithros/Iso/Drakes...you name it!- our big mayfly hatches are the greatest in the world!- also giant streamers and mousing!- bar none!.  I have lived and  fished in many destinations and I can fully feel comfortable in making that claim. 

BUT!...having cut my teeth on small spring creeks for fussy trout since a kid, I have always loved the tiny game...small #20's- 6/7/8x tippets, 2 weights and finicky risers- IT IS AN ADDICTION! ( and good bifocals help also!- modern optometry is a miracle today!)

Since being on the Muskegon for this the 20th year, I have always told my wife, ..." If I could take one month off , it would be August , to fish the Muskegon- the dry fly fishing is at its finest! As long as you don't fish in the heat of the day, are extremely careful with the trout and temperatures..( #keepemwet), our trout rise and feel comfortable even when the waters are approaching the low 70's...-FACT!- ....it has been that way since the days of the 1930's -Swisher/Richards/ Pobst/Mansel...yadda yadda. Our Eagle Lake rainbow strain can tolerate temps well into the upper 70's/80....the Wild Rose and Gilchrist browns feed late or early and also tolerate very high temps. This is obvious by how "fat and rotund" our trout are all summer long- no starving stressed out snakes here!

August is prime midges and caddis time. Trout will ingest hundreds of them a day -cloudy days all day feeding. Little green caddis start the cycle- #18-22, then the mix with cinnamon caddis and the all the time #22-28 midge fishery which is actually taking over as the prime substance forage. My two weights are loaded and ready- awesome stuff ! The bend in the pole a fat 11 incher will give you is epic!
(caddis image- JGMiller)
Early mornings, after cool nights will see awesome Trico hatches from Pine St to Henning Park. One of the biggest F'k ups the USGS did is put the temperature gage in the wrong spot...right on the left side of the dam where warm water usually spills. As the water gets past all the dozens upon dozens of springs below Thornapple high gradients, insect hatches are more diverse, less zebras and incredible hatch matching opportunities with cool water trout refuge areas and larger more wary browns that cruise the flats.
( this August/Sept. brown on the Muskegon is far from stressed and starving like many hot freestoners)

By mid month, #24 BWO Pseudocloeon olives dominate the lower river along with late season Stenonema Cahill's , late Isonychia and zillions of flying ants. The olive activity lasted for me last year well into November and at times the water is covered so thick by rusty spinners and adults its like sawdust and trout sipping everywhere!
Late August/through September is flying ant time!!!!- size 14- through #20- trout eat the shit out of them!!!!- and will move several feet to take them!
Yes its a great time for smallies/pike..night mousing/hoppers on PM...etc. , whatever floats your boat man!

( from Mid August through September- lower river has massive cahill hatches on cool weather nights with rising water)
( smaller Pseudo bwo spinners are rusty-#24- JGMiller image)


But if you like long 7x leaders, fussy trout, and watching trout refuse your fly- or occasionally take it!- August on the Mo is epic!...( sorry guys that know the gig,  which are now saying .."why doesn't he keep his damn mouth shut!)
 Fact is the fish are not all in the San Juan between Dam and Pine, they are spread out everywhere,growing an inch a month- do the math from stocking size- are extremely particular at times and what they feed on- midges and more midges are the staple!, you can have a great summer season!!!
(another late August/early September fatty)

 My point: the more people get out and experience this, the less DNR BS propaganda kool aid they will drink about marginalism and become sheep to the propaganda slaughter . Only thing marginal about the MO in the summer is the marginal understanding and  maximum stupidity and propaganda people have been led to believe by one biologist that has one three goals!- 1. walleye...2. walleye and one more 3. walleye !
Cheers!..na zdrowie..Ga Day Mate !
BTW....For the killers and trout eaters- personally I love our biologist's fish- walleye!...go get a frying pan and catch the rainbows- they are for you!!!. Leave the browns to grow big for the" head game of nods"- plus the small bows taste better!...:)